Local news

Reclaimed pot package leads to arrest

A suspicious-smelling package that caught a local mail worker’s attention this month turned out to be a pound of marijuana bound for Missouri.

Now a 20-year-old Spokane man is facing a felony drug charge after falling for a ruse arranged by the Spokane County Regional Drug Task Force.

The suspect, Johnathon A. Delay, was arrested this week after Spokane police Officer Rich Meyer posed as a UPS employee over the phone and persuaded him to meet at a UPS store to file a claim for a missing package.

Turns out Meyer actually had the package. A United Parcel Service employee gave it to him May 4 after the UPS worker “smelled the strong odor of marijuana,” according to a search warrant. Inside was a pound of marijuana – valued at $3,000 – in vacuum-sealed bag.

The package was to be sent to Springfield, Mo. Delay listed himself as the sender but altered two letters in his last name. He also listed an address in the 6600 block of North Normandie and included his cell phone number.

A UPS employee identified Delay through a photo as the man who sent the package.

A sheriff’s deputy watching Delay’s home at 819 E. 37th Ave. followed him as he drove to meet Meyer on Wednesday. He was arrested near 44th Avenue and Regal Street.

Delay was released from jail on his own recognizance Thursday after appearing in Superior Court on a felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance.

A phone number listed in court documents for him wasn’t accepting messages Friday. On Thursday, a detective pulled records off Delay’s mobile phone after a photo of a woman holding marijuana appeared when it rang. Authorities are looking for clues about local drug distribution and about who in Missouri may have been set to receive the marijuana.

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